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An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

January 5th, 2019 COMMENTS

Interview with Jim Shelman at Classic Rental Solutions

Trade Show Rentals have undergone a seismic shift not only in design but also in sales. And, this trend will continue in 2019 and beyond. This week, we chatted with Jim Shelman, the General Manager of Classic Rental Solutions. So what should you expect as an exhibitor or a Classic Exhibits Distributor Partner? More of the same, which is a VERY GOOD THING. 

Q1. You’ve been in the Rental Exhibits space for over 20 years. What’s different now than say 6-8 years ago?

A lot of things have changed, but there are two things that really stand out to me as major changes. One, is the implementation of customization to rental designs. Almost every order we produce includes some element of customization to provide specific needs that exhibitors request during the design process. Today, it’s difficult to spot a rental design, versus a purchased design on the show floor.

The other thing that stands out are the reasons exhibitors decide to rent vs. purchase.

In the past, the primary reason to rent had more to do with only exhibiting in one or two shows per year, and if you were unsure of your long-term show schedule. The thought process was to test the waters with a rental, see how it goes, and purchase once you’ve committed to exhibiting in multiple shows per year. Now, it has become more about design flexibility, and perhaps not wanting to be stuck with the same design show after show. Or, maybe not wanting to deal with storing, shipping, or repairing a purchased exhibit.

Today, many exhibitors approach each show as a clean slate by working with new rental designs that match their specific show-to-show needs.

Q2. Classic Rental Solutions sales have increased year-over-year since 2010. Nearly 20% in 2018. Why?

There are several factors. With the risk of sounding corny, I’ll credit our team of dedicated people, and our incredible distributors, but I also think it’s because of our business model. We understand how important it is to be flexible, and to offer customized design services, and continuously add new custom designs to our rental gallery through our Exhibit Design Search feature on our website. And we’re committed to adding inventory as needed, to fulfill new opportunities for our distributors.

Classic Exhibit Rental Rewards ProgramAnother key factor is that we have the unique support from our in-house manufacturing professionals that produce new exhibits for our 200+ Distributor Partner Network. All of our rental components are produced right here, and we’re able to make last minute modifications.

I like to make it clear that we don’t just offer rentals, but that we offer a complete rental program. From start to finish, we have detailed processes that are followed by our production team and project managers. Every rental project gets staged and photographed before shipping. The highest quality standards are strictly enforced. We include setup instructions, and staging and packing photos with every order. After orders are returned, we provide a complete check-in report to close-out the project.

Several years ago, we implemented our Rental Rewards Program, which offers a reward discount of 2% of the total rental and graphics order when your exhibit returns without major damage and/or missing components. The program also offers two annual prize-drawings, and other rewards for our distributor network.

Q3. What are your biggest challenges headed into 2019? Biggest opportunities?

The seasonal nature of the trade show industry is always challenging. Everything hits at once several times throughout the year, which makes it challenging at times, but we plan and adjust accordingly. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’s never a real surprise, but it can hit at slightly different times.

2019 should be an amazing year for us. I would say that our biggest opportunities will be to continue to work on larger island design projects. We’re doing larger projects all the time, and I expect that trend to continue.

Another big opportunity that I’m anticipating is doing more large quantity component orders. We do large quantity orders for workstation kiosks, monitor stands, iPad kiosks, counters, and charging stations. Our large inventory, and willingness to add more, allows us to offer quantities that others typically don’t have available.

Trade Show Island Rental Exhibits from Classic Rental Solutions

Q4. What do you think the typical exhibitor gets wrong about renting a trade show exhibit?

Some of the newer exhibitors think that they are limited to standard designs, and they’re surprised when we start the design process and realize that we offer so much more than they were expecting.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Classic Distributor Partner understood about Classic Rental Solutions?

For those who aren’t aware and haven’t worked with us, I wish that they understood our full capabilities, and our design flexibility. And that we offer a complete rental program with nothing but high-quality “like-new” components. I want them to understand that we can offer something unique for their client base. Something that has proven to work successfully for distributors all over the country.

Q6. Have you seen more event-related rentals vs. trade show rentals? Are their more similarities or differences?

Yes, we ship a fair amount of event-related projects. In the last couple of months, we had multiple large quantity orders for charging stations. And last week we shipped (49) backlit counters to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

Q7. How has the Gravitee One-Step System impacted your rental options?

Our Gravitee Modular System has been a great addition to our rental program. It works extremely well for towers and conference rooms, but also for entire island and inline designs. It’s super-fast and easy to setup and disassemble, so it’s used as much as possible to save on labor costs. We see a substantial savings in time during our staging process here in our shop as well. We have a large inventory of standard and custom panel sizes, and we’ll continue to add to it.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributor Partners to ask you about CRS?

Yes, I’m planning to be there, and here are three of many questions that I would welcome during our conversations.

  • How can Classic Rental Solutions assist us with our current rental program?
  • How do we get started working with Classic for our rental projects?
  • What are your customization capabilities?

I’m looking forward to the show, and I’d be happy to schedule meetings during, before, or after show hours.

You can contact Jim Shelman at jshelman@classicexhibits.com or at 503-345-0525 ext, 103. 

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Never Eat or Drink in Your Trade Show Booth. Seriously? Dude, It’s 2018!

November 2nd, 2018 1 COMMENT

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays

You Know the Rules:

#1. Never eat or drink in your trade show booth and

#2. Don’t stare at your cellphone while on the show floor.

It makes sense, mostly. But you, me, and the guy with the taped together pop-up across the aisle all ignore those rules. We want our coffee in the morning, and we’re going to check our emails from time to time. It’s all a matter of degree. Don’t chow down on Kung Pao Chicken or obsessively check your text messages. Basically, act like you want to be there. 

It’s 2018, Dude. There’s gotta be a middle ground, and your display should facilitate it, whether you view it as a necessity or a necessary evil.  Think of Classic Exhibits and the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display as your personal bad-habit enabler. The Updated Sacagawea System includes two features not found on any other portable display and rarely seen on far more expensive exhibits: The Hostess Shelf and USB Charging Ports

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, Hostess ShelfHostess Shelf

Most portable displays have limited shelf space. That shelf or shelves are typically used for laptops, tablets, literature, or product samples. Not your beef burrito or latte. But, what if there was a small, less obvious shelf that didn’t interfere with your presentation but was readily accessible?

On the Sacagawea System, any kit that includes a backwall workstation counter includes (1) Hostess Shelf. The Hostess Shelf is perfect for your morning coffee or danish. It’s discrete, sitting below the larger workstation counter. Where there’s a workstation counter, you can add another Hostess Shelf so Ronnie in Sales has his own personal pantry on the show floor. The shelves are laminated so that nasty coffee ring can be wiped clean with a quick spray of Windex or Formula 409. 

Enjoy your caffeine fix my friend, guilt-free. Just be sure to set it back on the Hostess Shelf before you shake hands with the prospect you’ve been calling for 3 years. She just step in the booth. 

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, USB Charging PortsNew USB Charging Ports

Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but you know there’s more to power than a kite and a key. And just like you need caffeine, your phone needs juice during a long day on the show floor. Who wants to be Magellan circumnavigating the hall looking for an elusive electrical outlet? You’re better than that, and you belong in the booth talking about the revolutionary EN4CX-1287 industrial sump pump. It’s awesome!

The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid has your back. Two USB Charging Ports are included on any kit with a workstation counter. You don’t even have to share with Polly in Product Development, who’s still using a Nokia flip phone with an annoying “Welcome Back, Kotter” ringtone. Whether you need a full charge or just a quick top-off, the USB ports are always there. Safe. Dependable. Satisfying. Need more ports? No problem. Additional USB ports can be added when you add another workstation counter.

BTW, did we also happen to say that no other portable display offers this indispensable charging feature? Well… we did now. 

If That’s Not Enough…

  • Easy Knob-Assisted Assembly
  • Numbered Components and Detailed Setup Instructions
  • Vibrant 5K Dye-Sublimated Fabric Graphics
  • Adjustable Workstation Legs for Stability
  • Lightweight Engineered Aluminum Extrusion
  • LED Stem Lights
  • Portable Roto-molded Cases with Wheels
  • Jigged, Reusable Packaging
  • 100-Day Return Guarantee
  • Made in the USA

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Photos of Recent LED Fabric Lightboxes

October 10th, 2018 COMMENTS

Recent Trade Show Lightbox Trends

We sometimes forget (or simply don’t recognize) how quickly trends change on the trade show floor. LED Fabric Lightboxes have been around for 5-6 years. Crude versions with muddy low-resolution graphics and hinky lights a little longer.

2018 has become “The Unofficial Year of Lightboxes.” Probably 65% of the exhibits we ship have LED lights — in a tower, backwall, counter, accent, or stem light. It’s at the point where it’s almost jarring not to see a lightbox or LED lights on an exhibit. Not all all lightboxes are equal, but I’ll save that debate for another blog post. What is true is that the fabric, the printing, and the LED lights have gotten better, depending the source/supplier, BUT it pays to do your homework.

  • How new are the dye-sublimation printers? The technology is changing rapidly
  • Does the supplier actually dye-sublimate the image or do they print directly to the fabric (cheaper, more fragile, and wrinkles)?
  • Are the lights and transformers UL approved? 
  • What is the quality of the fabric? Think H & M vs. J. Jill as an clothing example. 

Below are some examples of recent SuperNova LED lightboxes, both purchase and rental. Sadly, LED lightboxes don’t photograph well with smartphones or point and shoot cameras. You see “hotspots,” and the colors are never as vibrant as with the naked eye. However, that won’t stop us from sharing. 🙂

-Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

October 2nd, 2018 COMMENTS

Every week, Tim Patterson, a.k.a. Tradeshow Guy, conducts an interview on his Monday Morning Coffee video/audio broadcast. Sometimes it’s someone from the trade show community, but more often it’s an expert on various business topics. It’s my go-to stop every Monday morning. 

This week Tim interviewed our own Jim Shelman, the GM of Classic Rental Solutions. They chatted about rental trends, the evolving reasons to rent, and why purchase and rentals are not so different. The interview starts at 4:15. Enjoy! 

Visual Guide to Trade Show Success Infographic

October 1st, 2018 COMMENTS

I’m a sucker for a well-designed, informative Infographic. I appreciate the creative artistry and exhaustive research required for the infographic to be successful. Which is why the “Visual Guide to Trade Show Success” from US Event Management caught my attention. 

First, it’s beautifully designed. It’s cohesive yet each section is distinct and there’s a practical north/south flow. On top of that, the information is useful and logically arranged. I especially like the “Questions to Consider” which poses questions every exhibitor should ask themselves. 

Sixteen total tips. Click on the link to Download the Infographic. And our thanks to the folks at US Event Management for creating it. 

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.